There are many terms or words used to describe various aspects of cigars or the cigar industry. Here are a few of the more common terms that you may hear in a cigar shop, or read in a cigar publication.
Band-- A ring of paper wrapped around the body of a cigar near the head, usually indicating the name of the brand.
Belicoso-- A short pyramid-shaped cigar with a tapered head.
Binder--A type of tobacco leaf used to hold together a bunch of filler leaves.
Blend-- A mixture of different types of tobacco in a cigar.
Box-pressed--The slightly square shape given to some cigars by packing them tightly in a box.
Bunch-- A blend of several different types of filler tobacco leaves that are held together by a binder leaf.
Bundles--Inexpensive cigars sold in cellophane packages instead of boxes.
Candela--A naturally green cigar wrapper leaf.
Cap-- A circular piece of wrapper leaf placed on the head of a cigar to prevent the wrapper from unraveling.
Chaveta--A semi-circular shaped knife used for cutting tobacco leaves during the rolling process.
Churchill--A long cigar size (7 inches) named after Sir Winston Churchill.
Cigarillos--Small machine-made cigars.
Claro-- A natural light brown cigar wrapper leaf.
Colorado--An oily cigar wrapper leaf having a brownish-red color.
Corojo--A spicy-smooth cigar wrapper leaf originally grown in Cuba having limited availability.
Corona--A common size for a cigar, about 5 inches long and not too thick.
Cuban Seed--Tobacco grown in non-Cuban countries with seeds (or a later generation thereof) that came from Cuba.
Draw--The amount of air and smoke that comes through a lit cigar when puffed.
Entubar--A cigar rolling method where each individual filler leaf is rolled into itself before being bunched.
Escaparate--A display or cooling storage cabinet in which cigars are kept after they have been rolled.
Figurado--A cigar having a shape other than a cylinder, such as a torpedo or pyramid.
Filler--Tobacco leaves used in the body of the cigar, bound by a binder leaf then rolled inside a wrapper leaf.
Finish--The taste that lingers on your palate after a puffing on a cigar.
Foot--The open end of a cigar that you light, as opposed to the closed head end which goes into your mouth after cutting.
Handmade--A cigar made entirely by hand with high-quality wrapper and long filler tobaccos.
Hand Rolled– A cigar made partially by hand, where the wrapper is rolled by hand over the binder and filler tobaccos that were bunched by machines.
Head--The closed end of a cigar that you put in your mouth, which must be cut or pierced before lighting.
Humidor--A room or a box designed to store and age cigars at humidity levels near 70%.
Hygrometer--A device that measures the humidity or percentage of moisture in the air inside of a cigar humidor.
Ligero--The tobacco leaves at the top of the tobacco plant which receive the most sun, making them stronger and higher in nicotine than the lower leaves.
Long Filler--Filler tobacco leaves that run the length of the cigar, as opposed to leftover pieces of tobacco used in machine-made cigars.
Lonsdale--The name for a size of a somewhat long (6½") cigar that is not too wide.
Machine-made--Cigars made entirely by machine, using reconstituted wrappers and binders, and short/mixed filler instead of long filler.
Maduro--A ripe and somewhat sweet type of wrapper leaf that is dark brown in color.
Oscuro--A very dark brown and almost black shade of wrapper.
Panetela--Name for a long and thin cigar size.
Parejo--A normal cylindrical shaped cigar, as opposed to a figurado having a comparatively unusual shape.
Perfecto--A figurado cigar shape that is tapered and sometimes closed at both ends, and perhaps even having a bulge in the middle.
Plug-- A blockage inside of a cigar that prevents it from drawing properly.
Plume (aka Bloom)-- A fine white powder formed from the oils of a cigar after being aged. Not the same thing as mold, which is blue in color and stains the wrapper.
Pre-embargo Cigar-- A legal Cuban cigar imported into the United States before President Kennedy signed the trade embargo against Cuba in 1962.
Premium Cigar-- a cigar that: (1) is wrapped in whole tobacco leaf; (2) contains a 100 percent leaf tobacco binder; (3) contains at least 50 percent (of the filler by weight) long filler tobacco (i.e., whole tobacco leaves that run the length of the cigar); (4) is handmade or hand rolled (i.e., no machinery was used apart from simple tools, such as scissors to cut the tobacco prior to rolling); (5) has no filter, nontobacco tip, or nontobacco mouthpiece; (6) does not have a characterizing flavor other than tobacco; (7) contains only tobacco, water, and vegetable gum with no other ingredients or additives; and (8) weighs more than 6 pounds per 1,000 units.
Puro-- A cigar made with tobaccos from a single country.
Pyramid--The shape for a cigar that is tapered from a wide open foot to a closed pointed head.
Ring Gauge--The diameter of a cigar, based on 64ths of an inch. For example, a cigar with a 50 ring gauge has a diameter that measures 50/64".
Robusto--The name for a cigar size that is about 5 inches long with a 50 ring gauge.
Seco--The tobacco leaves in the middle of the tobacco plant, which are larger but receive less sun than the ligero leaves, and therefore, are less potent.
Shade-grown--Wrapper leaves that are grown under a tent to produce natural wrappers that are smoother and lighter in color.
Shoulder--The part of a cigar just below the head where the cap is attached to the body.
Short Filler-- Chopped up scraps of tobacco leaves used in machine-made cigars.
Sun-grown--Tobacco grown in direct sunlight, which creates a thicker leaf with thicker veins.
Torcedores--Spanish term for cigar rollers.
Torpedo--A large figurado cigar shape where the head is closed to a point.
Vegetable Gum-- A natural vegetable glue used to secure a cap to the head of a parejo shaped cigar, or to secure the wrapper at the head of a figurado.
Vintage--As with fine wine, a cigar company may declare the tobacco harvested during an exceptionally good year as being vintage.
Vitola--A term that refers to both a cigar's shape and size.
Wrapper--The outer tobacco leaf of a cigar which is wrapped around the bunched filler and binder. The wrapper is the most expensive tobacco leaf of a cigar and usually accounts for about half of a cigar's flavor.
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